Hepatitis E Virus Infection in an Italian Cohort of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Recipients: Seroprevalence and Infection

Elisa Furfaro, Laura Nicolini, Andrea Della Vecchia, Carmen Di Grazia, Anna Maria Raiola, Riccardo Varaldo, Fabio Ferrando, Gaia Barisione, Bianca Bruzzone, Emanuele Angelucci, Claudio Viscoli, Malgorzata Mikulska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chronic hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients is an emerging threat. The aim of this study was to provide data on the HEV burden in an Italian cohort of HSCT recipients and analyze risk factors for HEV seropositivity. This retrospective study reports data from 596 HSCT recipients compiled between 2010 and 2019. It included patients who underwent transplantation between 2010 and 2015 for whom pretransplantation (n = 419) and post-transplantation (n = 161) serum samples were available and tested retrospectively, as well as patients in whom prospective HEV testing was performed during the standard care: pre-HSCT IgG screening in 144, pre-HSCT HEV-RNA screening in addition to IgG screening in 60, and HEV-RNA testing in case of clinical suspicion of HEV infection in 59 (26 of whom were also included in the IgG screening cohorts). The rate of pre-HSCT HEV-IgG positivity was 6.0% (34 of 563). Older age was an independent risk factor for seropositivity (P = .039). None of the 34 HEV-IgG-positive patients had detectable HEV-RNA. One case of transient HEV-RNA positivity pre-HSCT was identified through screening. Two patients were diagnosed with chronic HEV hepatitis, and 1 patient was successfully treated with ribavirin. The burden of HEV infection in HSCT recipients in Italy is limited, and pre-HSCT screening appears to be of no benefit. Timely diagnosis of HEV infection with HEV-RNA is mandatory in cases of clinical suspicion.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Hepatitis E
  • Prevalence
  • Ribavirin
  • Seroepidemiologic studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation


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